Work Culture & Male Mental Health: Online Life Coaching for Men

By: Logan Cohen, Professional Therapist, Online Life Coach - Founder of Balanced Man Plan

Are you one of the few People that absolutely LOVES their job? If you are, then consider yourself lucky. When it comes to male mental health, our work outside of the Home has always been a BIG part of our own natural balance.

When it comes to male mental health, job disruption is the leading cause of life stressors that finally leads a man to seeking the aid of a coach, counselor, or talk therapist. Whether this is difficulty finding a job, getting fired, or changing professional direction altogether, studies repeatedly show that male mental health depends strongly on our ability to work and provide financial resources for Self & Loved Ones. Why is that?

Men have primarily been “Providers & Protectors” (used to be called Hunters & Warriors) for THOUSANDS of years. Going back to the beginning of time as we know it, females have ALWAYS had the role of creating Human Life in their womb. Like many other species, Human males have always had the primary role of going out into The World to hunt and/or go to war with a competing Tribe.

These activities were the highest risk encounters to physical well-being (outside of childbirth), so males have historically filled these roles in order to protect females so they can continue safely reproducing. After all, the species MUST go on.

These ways from the “Old World” continued on through Hunting/Gathering Societies and into the age of Farming Communities, at which point Humanity entered a new phase of development. Rather than our primary food source coming from Hunting, human communities started to settle into more stable farming societies.

These farming societies had two main roles for Men to take on if we desired to continue providing resources for Self & Loved Ones. In general, both allowed a high level of personal meaning, which supported male mental health.

First, there was the “Refined Authority Figure” and second, there was the “Courageous Craftsman”.

  1. Refined Authority Figure - This was a leadership role. This individual was generally a Person who was accepted to "be in charge of the big decisions”, generally speaking. Sometimes they literally OWNED the land and everything on it (typical of European Worldview), while other times they were seen as shepherds of the natural world (indigenous groups like Native American Indians). Regardless, these Men called the shots and were a part of all major decision making in those communities.

  2. Courageous Craftsman - This was a support role that was held by most male Members of the Tribe that involved a skilled trade that was valued by the community as a whole. Like the hunters & warriors of old, these jobs still involved more labor intensive work that was higher risk, so Men filled these jobs in order to protect the safety of Women.

Both of these jobs - the Refined Authority Figure and the Courageous Craftsman - allowed Men to hold onto what we call a sense of “Life’s Purpose”. This is the knowledge that we are doing work that is valued by our community, while at the same time, also interesting enough to us personally to give it value & stay engaged.

These jobs support male mental health because like ALL Human Beings, we are social creatures who MUST know that our work is important & valued by our social group. As Men, we have always been taught to identify STRONGLY with the roles we take on for our community & Loved Ones and in many ways, continue to do so.

Towards the beginning of the 1800s, cities began to pop up as the Industrial Revolution spread from Europe to the United States. Machines organized into assembly lines enabled mass production of goods and those factories needed WORKERS.

Manpower for the factory work came in from the farming communities of the “Old World”, as well as from Europe as immigrants escaped persecution, famine, and wars. A new level of mass production and “efficiency” took hold, and Big Business became the new “law of the land”.

This was the birth of modern work culture as we know it, and in many ways, the beginning of the end for male mental health in the modern work culture - maybe even men’s health in general.

While the Refined Authority Figure & the Courageous Craftsman got to hold on to their Life's Purpose in their everyday work. The blacksmith, carpenter, and farmer inherited their life’s work from generations past and were raised to appreciate their craft that was handed down through the family line.

Meanwhile, the owner of the property (authority figure) had to maintain a “big picture” of the community, its economy, and resulting needs - and naturally a sense of their OWN desires into this picture as well. As a result, most Men got to be PERSONALLY invested in their daily work. Every job had a place and a sense of importance.

When modern work culture took over, Big Business was a large part of that too. The everyday citizen no longer owned a stake in what they were doing every day.

Proud and skilled craftsmen got stuffed into assembly lines while their hands are worked to the BONE doing repetitive movements, while many of those would be authority figures are now part of Big Business. Rather than considering their own “Personal Integrity”, they have to constantly submit to “The Man” where “the shots are called” NOT by THEM, but by some corporate “bottom line” that is not even about Human Beings, but rather the profit margin for an executive board and/or stock holders.

At the end of the day, male mental health STRUGGLES in modern work culture because we are no longer allowed to meet a natural balance of our own Life’s Purpose - a potent combo of our Natural Passions, Innate Gifts/Talents, and Personal Integrity based on “core values”.

About a hundred years ago, Men & Women both lived to the ripe age of about 75 years old. Today after science & healthcare has continued to progress, Women live about 5 years longer (81.1 to be exact), while Men STILL die at roughly the SAME age! Why did this downturn in male mental health happen at the same time as modern work culture got established?

Studies show that the major statistic holding Men back in our health & well-being these days looks a LOT like untreated male mental health. Men are 4.5 TIMES more likely to complete suicide and the #1 cause for suicide is Depression that is not being sufficiently treated (in 80% of cases). At the same time, men & boys are 60% less likely to be diagnosed with Depression & Anxiety than Women by a healthcare professional. What is causing this HUGE GAP in male mental health?

Before the age of “City Life”, Men held important roles that were valued by the community (see above). When cities brought their assembly lines and Big Business took over, there is no longer a place for a Man’s Life Purpose to be fulfilled in our daily work that we spend 40, 50, sometimes 60 hours a week or more doing in our day-to-day Life.

How is male mental health SUPPOSED to be doing while our Body is worked to the bone, our Minds are numbed with a lack of Personal Integrity, and meanwhile we CRAVE to be an important part of The Tribe as we are programmed to do in the code of our DNA!

The answers lie in identifying our OWN Life’s Purpose, then building a life with our most important Loved Ones around THAT. When we love what we do, are valued by our community for doing it, and it ALSO meets our own Personal Mission Statement, we can get it ALL in balance and moving in the right direction.

From here, breaking through comfort zones becomes a LOT more personally motivated and we no longer search for excuses to avoid temporary discomfort.